I talk very often about my love affair with cold emailing. I’m obsessed because, simply put, it works so well. There’s still a lot of mystery surrounding it, though, so I’m here to clear up some of the most common myths about cold emailing for freelance writing.
6 Myths About Cold Emailing for Freelance Writing
Myth #1: Cold Emailing Doesn’t Work
We’re going to get the biggest, most damaging myth out of the way first.
If you’ve tried cold emailing and haven’t had success, something in your approach is wrong.
If you haven’t tried it and have still somehow decided it doesn’t work, I encourage you to be open to learn!
When done properly, cold emailing can be one of the most efficient ways to bring in new clients. One big reason for this is because it puts you in control. You decide who you want to contact, what rates you’ll charge, and what kind of work you’ll offer.
Not only does it work, but it works quickly. It is, by far, the most efficient method for bringing it new clients that I’ve experienced in 10 years of writing professionally.
Myth #2: Cold Emailing is Spam
No! No, no, no. There’s a big difference.
Spam emails are nearly identical messages sent in bulk — meaning to many recipients. They’re not targeted or personalized. There’s a reason your email account has a spam folder that some messages automatically go to. It’s because your email provider flags them.
Now, if you’re cold emailing the wrong way, it absolutely can be spammy. However, it’s incredibly easy to avoid this — and you should.
Cold emails should be sent to one person at a time. They should address them by name and be personalized to them specifically. Importantly, the email should be written to clearly convey what the recipient gets out of it. This isn’t about you — it’s about them.
Furthermore, unlike spam, cold emailing can actually bring you new clients. When has spam ever worked? There’s a reason it’s called spam.
Myth #3: People Hate Receiving Cold Emails
Wrong-o. I know that sending cold emails can be scary — what if you piss them off and they send you something angry back?
I’ve sent many, many hundreds of cold emails, and the most negative response I’ve gotten is… no.
This is because my cold emails are concise, polite, and cater to the recipient. It’s hard to get mad about an email like that. Again, the worst they’re going to say is no. If you go about cold emailing the right way, I can almost promise you’ll have a similar experience.
And here’s the best part: some people are going to say no, but others will ask for more information, and some of them will give you a yes. There will be people who are going to be thrilled to hear from you, because they’ve been looking for someone with a skillset just like yours.
Myth #4: I Don’t Have Enough Experience to Be Cold Emailing
False! You know why? It’s because you don’t need any experience to start cold emailing potential freelance writing clients.
Newbie freelance writers will express concern over the fact that they don’t have any samples to provide yet. Here’s how you can solve that problem right now: write up your own samples and publish them on your own blog. There. Done.
I can promise you that most potential clients simply want to see how you write. They’re not going to care that the work is published on your own website.
Next, writers will ask me, “Well, what do I even say in a cold email, when I don’t have any experience?”
Simple — you tell people what you do.
“Dear Barbara, my name is Jane, and I’m a professional finance writer. I’m reaching out because I’m interested in producing content for your personal finance blog.”
Barbara doesn’t need your life story. She needs to know what you do and how you can help her.
Experience comes with time; and while experience is always nice to have, none of us have it in the beginning. None of us.
You can still offer knowledge. I can’t remember the last time a potential client asked me how long I’ve been writing. They ask more about my skill set and what services I can provide them. That’s a response you should have prepared ahead of time.
Myth #5: Sending Emails Takes Too Much Time
Have you caught yourself using this excuse? While it might seem like a lot of work in the beginning, most things are when you’re first learning them.
Eventually, you’ll get to a place where you can spend less than an hour a day cold emailing and still see significant results.
To be clear, though, I suggest you measure this not by the time you spend on it but instead by how many emails you send. If you spend an hour sending two emails, don’t expect results. But if you can send 10-15 emails (in a reasonable amount of time), you will start bringing in new clients.
As you get the hang of this, you’ll continue finding ways to speed up your approach. For instance, you shouldn’t be writing every email totally from scratch. Instead, have a basic template that you use for everyone, and customize it with personal details. I like to use Gmail’s canned responses.
Myth #6: I Can’t Cold Email Because I’ll Sound “Sales-y”
None of us wants to sound like the sleazy salesman. I hate to break it to you, though: If you want to be a freelance writer, then you’re going to be a business owner. And if you want to be a business owner, there’s one thing in particular you have to do well: sell.
But! Here’s the thing. If you do it the right way, you won’t come across as sales-y at all. Look at it like this. Instead of having the goal of selling your services and closing the client, have the goal of helping these people as much as possible.
When your goal is something more genuine and selfless — like wanting to help others — you’ll avoid sounding desperate, you’ll be more confident, and you’ll build trust and authority. This eventually equates to closing more clients.
Like many other people, I’m very anti-sales. When I say that, I mean I’m anti-pushy, anti-desperate, anti-breathe-down-your-neck. That’s the stereotypical salesperson image we all have in our minds.
But I found a way to communicate with people that feels true to me, and I shifted my mindset to focus more on helping them, as opposed to closing new deals. These days, I really don’t have a problem bringing in new clients when I want to.
If you have questions about how you can use cold emailing for freelance writing to land new clients, you should join my private Facebook group , if you haven’t already. We can connect there!
Cold emailing is my #1 source of new business. You know what my second is? LinkedIn. Without LinkedIn, I wouldn’t experience the growth that I have in my career. It’s an incredible way to connect with professionals who can ultimately help you grow your freelance writing business.
There are specific ways you can improve your profile to help draw potential clients to you. And the good news is I’ve laid out exactly how to do it in my free guide. (And yes, it’s completely free.)